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The Iraq Debacle: The Rise and Fall of Procurement-Aided Unilateralism as a Paradigm of Foreign War

58 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2009  

Charles Tiefer

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: Fall 2007


Four years of American mishandling of procurement of military support and reconstruction in Iraq insurgency has produced countless examples of waste and abuse. This can be attributed to three factors. First, the United State's diminished use of competitive contracting minimized scrutiny of the contractor's performance. Second, the Government's unilateralist approach to reconstruction overburdened the administration with the political and financial costs of "nation-building." Third, the United States' failure to account for Iraqi funds eliminated checks on misguided procurement and other spending.

In this article, the author discusses the intersection of acquisition reform in the context of the United States' unilateral involvement in foreign war. By abandoning formal procurement checks, like full and open competition, the United States abused taxpayer dollars to grant a sole-source award to Halliburton and contract with interrogators at Abu Ghraib. The government's failure to use legal tools to compel contractors into submission contributed to such abuses. These procurement related aspects of unilateralism highlights the United States' need to return to traditional procurement principles.

Keywords: Halliburton, Abu-Ghraib, Acquisition Reform, Unilateralism, Rumsfeld, Iraq, Procurement, checks and balances, unilateralism, contract waste, competitive contracting, reconstruction, "nation-buildling"

JEL Classification: K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Tiefer, Charles, The Iraq Debacle: The Rise and Fall of Procurement-Aided Unilateralism as a Paradigm of Foreign War (Fall 2007). University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2007. Available at SSRN:

Charles Tiefer (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States

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